Title: Managing the change of strategy from customisation to product platform: case of Mabuchi Motors, a leading DC motor manufacturer

Authors: Tomoatsu Shibata; Mitsuru Kodama

Addresses: Tohoku University, 27-1, Kawauchi, Aoba-ku, Sendai, 980-8576, Japan ' Nihon University, 5-2-1 Kinuta Setagaya-ku, Tokyo 157-8570, Japan

Abstract: This paper analyses how component manufacturers can change from a customisation to a product platform strategy. This change requires component manufacturers to deal with issues related to the product architecture of the component itself and to the product development process required to sustain the platform strategy. This paper presents an in-depth analysis of the change in product strategy of Mabuchi Motors, a specialised DC motor manufacturer that sells DC motors for an average of 50 yen and that has enjoyed long-term stability and high profitability. The process involved in changing product strategy is analysed from two perspectives, the design concept (product architecture) of the DC motor, and its product development process. Academically, this study may contribute to enhancing the quality of product platform strategies by expanding these strategies from end product manufacturers to component manufacturers.

Keywords: change management; strategy change; customisation; DC motors; product platforms; Mabuchi Motors; component manufacturing; new product development; NPD; technology management; product strategy; product architecture.

DOI: 10.1504/IJTM.2015.068214

International Journal of Technology Management, 2015 Vol.67 No.2/3/4, pp.289 - 305

Received: 26 Jul 2013
Accepted: 12 Jan 2014

Published online: 20 Mar 2015 *

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